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Bob Frazier's Music Page
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Press HERE for MP3's and MIDI sequences, press HERE for music links,
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bass/treble clef with empty score

If you can do it, it ain't bragging (Babe Ruth?)


Background sound removed since it's no longer a novelty - MIDI file is HERE.


Introduction

A number of years ago I did a radio show, for a semi-professional organization known as "ATS Radio", and for a small fee I was able to buy 30 minutes of radio time each week. Each show started with the following phrase:
"This is Bob Frazier on the music page of the radio magazine..."

So, what you see here is the MUSIC PAGE of our Internet HTML magazine.

I have been playing guitar since I was 6 years old, or even earlier (when my dad would allow me to use his). Though I have never been given ANY lessons, I have become, in my opinion, a competent musician. When I was 6 years old, I got a rather small electric guitar for Christmas, with a 'Greg' label on the head stock. It was BARELY playable (strings were too heavy, and too far from the neck) but I at least tried to use it, though not with much success. I even got one of those air-driven Magnus chord organs when I was 10 years old, but only 'toyed around' with music until I was about 12, when I started getting more serious about it. At that time I discovered just how "un-playable" my guitar really was, so I started modifying the bridge and the nut (using a pocket knife to shave things down as needed) and lowered the strings enough so I could play it. Then, on my 15th birthday, I got a REAL guitar - a Goya acoustic/electric, which had the worst feedback problem I've ever seen in any guitar (some players might want this, however). Still, I pursued. Since my family never really had a lot of money, I typically bought old amplifier or hi-fi chassis and speakers at the San Jose Flea Market, and combined the results to build amplifiers of steadily increasing power. I also spent a LOT of my time tinkering with various electronic circuits of the day (some of which were a bit unstable), usually stuff that I designed from scratch, and occasionally I ruined speakers by pumping too much power through them. Still, amidst the obstacles, I pursued (I don't easily give up on ANYTHING when I put my mind to it).

Over time, I have collected a much better set of instruments, though I've sold several of them due to lack of space to play. Also, my mother once owned a music store in Seaside, near Monterey (Williams Music) until she retired, so some of my equipment I was able to purchase from her - there's no way I could have gotten a better price anywhere, and not just because she's my mother!

Some time ago I found a rather nice shareware application called "The NoteWorthy Composer", produced by Eric Heile of NoteWorthy ArtWare. If you have any questions about the product, you can check out Eric's NoteWorthy ArtWare HOME PAGE. Yes, I did register it. It works very well under Windows '95, which is the only place where I seem to be able to play songs like "Windows '95 Blues", which won't play properly under Windows 3.1 without a 'wave table' card - there are just too many simultaneous notes. Most 'wave table' cards allow at least 32 simultaneous notes, so there should be no problem with 'wave table' cards in general.

Concerning sound cards:

I seemed to have some rather poor luck with sound cards, until around 2002, when I purchased a SoundBlaster PCI32 sound card (to replace an Ensoniq card that didn't have sufficient driver support), especially with respect to COMPATIBILITY with newer operating systems. My first sound card was a 'ProSonic' Media Vision, which didn't work right with Win '95. I then got a wave table card to replace it, for the main reason that Wave Tables are superior, among other things. That was an SC800 'Wave32' card made by Reveal Computer Products. However, its drivers gave me trouble under Win '95, and there were no NT drivers or future support (the company went belly-up). SO, when I installed NT 4.0 on my system (dual boot) for software development, I bought a Turtle Beach Tropez Plus, having seen NT drivers (for the 'Crystal' chip set) for it. THAT was a BIG mistake! Even the beta NT 5.0 drivers didn't let the wave tables work, and I kept having "little problems" all of the time, not to mention that MIDI files were significantly "out of time". THAT drove me INSANE, to the point that the frustration of such poor quality precluded me writing any MIDI files for a while. What was worse, was that when I contacted Turtle Beach about the problems, they either IGNORED ME or said things like "well, our NEWER CARDS DO support Windows NT!" THAT was REALLY HELPFUL! (not) SO, when THAT card finally started DYING, I bought (for the first time) something with REAL promise: A PCI sound card by SIIG, the 'Soundwave Pro PCI'. Not only does it have wave tables in SOFTWARE (meaning you can 'upgrade' it or (theoretically) modify it yourself) but it runs under NT 4.0 *AND* Windows 2000 (with minor bugs, however, in Windows 2000, when it was still 'in beta' and SIIG never promised it would work anyway).Besides, I paid less for THIS card than I did for the first wave table card I bought, and it's PCI. And of course, THEN I upgraded it to an Ensoniq card for the improved wavetables, and ran into driver incompatibility problems (again) with XP.

My sound card problems (for the most part) disappeared once SoundBlaster (now Creative Labs) purchased Ensoniq's wavetable technology, and I still use it for my current music production, even though it's a nearly 10 year old design. I admit, I did have to fix the wavetables, but I was able to download a wave table editor from the Creative Labs web site some time ago (I do not know if they still have it available, try a search engine if you want to get it) and this let me fix the 2 or 3 patches that were just, plain, wrong in their 8Mb wavetable set. And, of course, THAT is the one I have been using. It's not perfect, still sounds a little 'robotic', but does the job well enough for now.

BobF (at) mrp3 (dot) com.

MUSIC FILES - Windows ".MID" MIDI (RIFF) Format, and MP3 Format
(Use wave tables for best MIDI results, every soft-synth I've tried lacks realism)


The formula for a 'One Hit Wonder'

I was thinking about this today and thought I'd write down a few of my ideas about what makes a music group become a 'one hit wonder'. It's based on some recent observations even, about one particular artist (nameless).

I may add others later when I think of them



Music Links

    MIDI over Ethernet - extremely useful for using a remote computer for MIDI playback
    A Free MIDI Loopback driver (also has an inexpensive licensed version)
    (You'll need something like this for 'MIDI over Ethernet')
    Guitar Resources - 'guitarists.net'
    The Synth Zone
    Indiana University School of Music

NOTE: many of the old links were broken. these have been removed.



Last updated: 02/25/2013

E-Mail: BobF (at) mrp3 (dot) com
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Bob Frazier and his bright red axe

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